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The Science of Happiness class gave me a detailed overview of necessary information needed to improve my mental health to help me enjoy life fully. We went over topics such as positive psychology, mindfulness, depression and anxiety, yoga, positive identity, romantic relationships and personality traits. Out of all these topics the major lessons I learned were the benefits of practicing mindfulness, how romantic relationships can be influenced socialization, and the differences between depression and mood states.

From the reading by Good et al. on mindfulness, I learned that mindfulness has both physical and psychological benefits. Practicing mindfulness has been seen to decrease anxiety and depression, increase awareness and concentration, as well as slowing down degenerative neurological issues involved with aging (Good). Dr. Salvatore discussed the influences involved with how adults function in romantic relationships in her lecture. The study she addressed observed the effect relationships had on someone’s life satisfaction. The cross-sectional study found that positive life satisfaction is directly related to close relationships. The way people interacted within these romantic or close relationships was impacted by their socialization starting from childhood and their social interactions as they aged. The study found a correlation between the socialization and competency in romantic relationships. However, there were instances where someone didn’t have a positive upbringing and they were still able to develop competency in romantic relationships. Depression is when you experience sadness in an engulfing way that impacts your day to day actions. With depression you can have states where you experience emotions in extremely high or low states. On the other hand, mood states are when you experience certain emotions but only temporarily.

All of these topics are beneficial to understand and be knowledgeable about because practicing good mindfulness habits, making good relationships romantic or not, and learning the risk factors of depression and differentiating it from mood states can all lead to maintaining a positive mental and physical lifestyle. I will continue to use these thing by meditating at least once a day, and just practicing just being positive. Also by sharing my knowledge of these topics it will help me keep up with it myself. Things that I’ve already changed in my life would have to be my awareness of my surrounds, I’ve become more mindfulness of the little things in life. Also one thing I enjoy doing is giving out compliments to people. It lifts my mood as well as theirs. Thinking about positive aspects in my life has also helped me overcome most of my anxiety issues that I experience. One thing that I could work on would be my commitment to actually following through with these exercises such as meditation and positive thinking.

To share this information I would continue by doing the weekly media post, because those were a great way to spread the word about this class and the things we learned. Plus everyone can benefit from those information.

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Good, Darren J., et al. “Contemplating mindfulness at work: an integrative review.” Journal of Management 42.1 (2016): 114-142.

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In the past couple weeks in class we’ve covered developmental impacts for a successful romantic relationship, role of positive emotions on positive psychology, influence of mindfulness on professional work settings, and impact of health related behaviors on college students. All the topics are surrounded by the same idea of emotion and conflict resolutions. These topics focus on a specific part of developmental enrichment that leads to the concept of happiness and mental stability. In the lecture by Dr. Salvatore I learned that your socialization of how you were treated and what you viewed/learned growing up influenced/predicted how you would behave in future romantic relationships. Someone could’ve been brought up with or without conflict and still have the capacity to have competence in romantic relationships. Being able to empath On the other hand, there is positivity and its impact on psychology. While these are both a sub categorical study of psychology, positivity studies the thoughts behind that emotion and its effect as a whole on the body, mind, and spirit. 

 Of all the exercises, the 7 days of calm activity was the most beneficial to me. Meditation is a concept that requires practice and patients while allowing you to destress. Mediating at least twice a week has become a goal of mine that will help me decrease my stress and anxiety. Overall, the past couple of weeks have taught me that to have an open mind, be positive, communicate openly, and finding ways to relax.

The Key to Happiness: Balance

Throughout these past few weeks, The Science of Happiness class has become an eye-opening experience. The lectures, discussions, and activities are not only knowledgeable information but actually real life connections to realistic practices we can use to improve not only our mental health but our lives in general. Keyes’ mental health model of the flourishing scale was an interesting activity because I was surprised that you did not need to always have these positive thoughts about yourself to be flourishing. Dr. Sood’s lecture on depression, anxiety, and mood states resonated with me. I learned that being anxious or having anxiety sometimes isn’t the end of the world. On occasion, anxiety is needed to give us that little push in life. Like when your stressed about something, its that little push of anxiety, that fear, that helps us reach our desired outcome. On the other hand, there are mood states and depression which can be an extreme dragging feeling, or an extreme uplifting feeling. These two are very related, but notably distinct as well. A mood state are usually feelings that we express that are only temporary and are eventually able to move past. Unlike depression, where it is that same feeling that recurrently emerges, and that you’re not able to move past as easily. On the other hand, genetic influence can have a greater impact on mental health. Nonetheless, genetic dispositions aren’t always a bad thing, for me I believe it could be a motivating factor. Genetic dispositions only mean that there is a possibility, not a guarantee that you will be like that person. However, being unfamiliar to those feelings, I do experience mood states, and I believe having a mindful approach to those emotions can really help you understand and overcome those feelings with some ease.

 

Both Dr. Hancock’s and Professor Walsh’s lectures were both similar in the way they focused on positive and mindful practices that everyone could relate too and use throughout life. Mindfulness is the ability to be present. I believe that the positive practices interventions we learned from Professor Walsh’s lecture is beneficial to practicing mindfulness, and focusing more on the good things in life than the bad. Understanding your feelings, practicing positivity and mindfulness, overcoming your negative thoughts, gives you balance. Balance is the key to happiness, sad or negative feelings and thoughts happen and are okay when you are able to acknowledge and move past it. You are who you want to be, and by acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses you can develop good habits that lead to a positive well-being. Like they say, “Strength comes from weakness”. Being able to pick yourself up from your downfalls is a characteristic this class and these practices will teach you

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Deschene, Lori (2015, January 14). 6 Tips: Work/Life Balance for People with Big Dreams. Retrieved February 12, 2017, from